ASSEMBLY, No. 5422

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 8, 2021

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† BRIAN BERGEN

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

Assemblywoman† ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Thomson, DePhillips, McClellan, Simonsen, DiMaio and Scharfenberger

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes New Jersey Veteran Grant Program in Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act establishing the New Jersey Veteran Grant Program and supplementing chapter 71B of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.†

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† There is established the New Jersey Veteran Grant Program for veterans enrolled in public institutions of higher education.† It shall be the duty of the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to administer the program.

 

†††† 2.††† The purpose of the New Jersey Veteran Grant Program shall be to assist veterans in achieving their higher education goals.†

†††† a.†††† A grant under the program shall be in an amount established by the authority and subject to the amount of available appropriations.† A grant shall be subject to the prior application of other grants and scholarships against the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for up to 18 credit hours in any semester, for an eligible student enrolled in a course of undergraduate or graduate study at a public institution of higher education.†

†††† b.††† In the event that the amount awarded to an eligible student pursuant to subsection a. of this section does not cover the total cost of the studentís tuition and mandatory fees, the public institution of higher education at which the student is enrolled shall waive any remaining balance.

†††† c.†††† To be eligible to receive a grant under the program, a student shall:

†††† (1)†† have fulfilled at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States, including active duty service while in the New Jersey National Guard or a Reserve Component of the Armed Forces; or served in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country; or received a medical discharge due to an illness or injury related to the performance of duties;

†††† (2)†† have received an honorable discharge from military service, or is currently honorably serving;

†††† (3)†† be a State resident pursuant to guidelines established by the authority at either the time of entering military service or at the time of enrollment in a public institution of higher education in the State;

†††† (4)†† have applied for all other available forms of State and federal need-based grants and merit scholarships, including education benefits through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and excluding loans, the full amount of which grants and scholarships shall be applied to tuition to reduce the amount of any grant that the student shall receive under the provisions of this act;

†††† (5)†† be enrolled in good academic standing in an undergraduate or graduate course of study at a public institution of higher education in the State;

†††† (6)†† not be a current scholarship recipient of the Reserve Officer Training Corps; and

†††† (7)†† not be in default on any student loan, or owe a refund on any State or federal grant.

†††† d.††† A student who is dismissed for academic or disciplinary reasons from a public institution of higher education shall no longer be eligible for a grant under this act.† If a student participating in the program is dismissed for disciplinary reasons, the student shall repay in full all amounts received under the program.† The public institution of higher education shall be responsible for collecting the repayment, or the amount of any overpayment or other improper payment, of any State awards under the program, in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.18A:71B-10.

†††† e.†††† A student grant may be renewed upon the student's filing of a renewal financial aid application and providing evidence that the student has satisfied the requirements pursuant to subsection c. of this section.

 

†††† 3.††† There is annually appropriated from the General Fund to the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority such funds as are necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply the first full academic year following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill establishes the New Jersey Veteran Grant Program for veterans enrolled in public institutions of higher education.† The purpose of the program is to assist veterans in achieving their higher education goals.† The program will be administered by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

†††† Under the program, an eligible student may attend a public institution of higher education at no cost to the student.† The bill provides that a grant under the program will be in an amount established by the authority and subject to the amount of available appropriations.† A grant will be subject to the prior application of other grants and scholarships against the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for up to 18 credit hours in any semester, for an eligible student enrolled in a course of undergraduate or graduate study at a public institution of higher education.† In the event that the grant amount does not cover the total cost of tuition and mandatory fees, the public institution of higher education at which the student is enrolled will be required to waive any remaining balance.

†††† In order to qualify for the program, the bill requires that a student must:

†††† (1)†† have fulfilled at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States, which includes active duty service in the New Jersey National Guard or a Reserve Component of the Armed Forces; or served in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country; or received a medical discharge due to an illness or injury related to the performance of duties;

†††† (2)†† have received an honorable discharge from military service, or is currently honorably serving;

†††† (3)†† be a State resident;

†††† (4)†† have applied for all other available forms of State and federal need-based grants and merit scholarships, exclusive of loans;

†††† (5)†† be enrolled in good academic standing in an undergraduate or graduate course of study at a public institution of higher education in the State;

†††† (6)†† not be a current scholarship recipient of the Reserve Officer Training Corps; and

†††† (7)†† not be in default on any student loan, or owe a refund on any State or federal grant.

†††† The bill provides that a student who is dismissed for academic or disciplinary reasons from a public institution of higher education will no longer be eligible for the program.† If a student participating in the program is dismissed for disciplinary reasons, the student must repay in full all amounts received under the program.† The bill provides that a student grant may be renewed upon the student's filing of a renewal financial aid application and providing evidence that the student has satisfied the programís requirements.

†††† Finally, the bill annually appropriates from the General Fund to the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority such funds as are necessary to effectuate the billís purposes.